The show opened with a strong statement on the art of construction. We’ve seen plenty of that these past few days, clothes cleverly—sometimes too cleverly—worked and worked and worked, with all manner of tricks built in. There were none here. Instead, a powerful opening group of coats and suits, in black, teal, and aubergine, which relied solely on the expert manipulation of silhouette and fabric. That meant bustle-like volumes worked into the hips of coats that had been strictly belted (with alligator pelts!) or the addition of a cyclone-like swirl of fabric at the collars of jackets, some in wool, others in leather; all of these were teamed with lean, lean, lean skirts to the mid calf, cloches with raised crowns, and slouchy gloves, in colored leather or silk tulle, the latter a rather Galliano-esque whimsy.
From here, the collection moved into experimentation with a toile print, blowing it up, say, across a full skirt in teal and ivory, or rendering it as gold bullion embroidery over a fox-trimmed black leather coat. And to close, a series of fishtail columnar evening dresses, not to mention two full-blown beaded ball dresses, which sang joyfully with intense color—citrine, mulberry, shocking pink. All classic and classically gorgeous Oscar, but with hair and makeup—heavily kohled eyes, Ophelia-in-the-rushes hair—that was distinctly Galliano. Still, in the end, this isn’t a game of spot-the-presence-of-another-designer. If his postshow glow was anything to go by, de la Renta looked like the whole thing had been an absolute riot, and Galliano, who has maintained a zero profile throughout the process, gets to make a welcome return to the fold. Bravo, again, Oscar, and bravo, too, John. Read More »